Upper Makua Cave to Ohikilolo to Three Corners to Mount Ka’ala

by kenji SAITO on January 2, 2016

Hiking Upper Makua Cave to Three Corners to Mount Ka'ala

Promising weather turned into perfect conditions for our hike this weekend. Dale, Gen, Jose, Rob, Ryan, Tom and myself met up on the West side. Thanks to Ryan’s sister and Dale for shuttling us to the trailhead. Chris B would join us after work.

Trailhead

Trailhead

We picked up the trail through the dry shrubs and grass off Farrington Highway to make our way up towards Upper Makua Cave.

Trail

Trail

A group of hikers resting on their way to the cave. No rest for the weary.

Trail

Trail

We branched off to the left to gain the spur ridge.

Makua Valley

Makua Valley

Looking into Hawaii’s own death valley. Literally. Roaming cattle and military bombs slowly leached the life out of this once thriving Hawaiian community. You wouldn’t know it by looking at it from afar, as it’s off limits to the public, but the lush landscaped valley still hides unexploded ordnances from decades of military training. Click here for the larger image.

Trail

Trail

We soon got to the fence and started making our way up the spur ridge.

Trail

Trail

Dale waiting for his turn to climb up.

Trail

Trail

Making our way up to gain Ohikilolo ridge.

Trail

Trail

Rob holding down the fence for Tom to cross over. A hiker and a gentleman.

Looking back

Looking back

Enjoying the view towards Kaena Point. Photo by Tom Engle.

Trail

Trail

The sun breaking over the mountains. It was going to be a hot day.

Looking back

Looking back

Enjoying the shade while it lasted.

Trail

Trail

Walking on the narrow rock dike broke the monotony of the fence line.

Dead Goat Ridge

Dead Goat Ridge

We started to run across many a goat that found out the hard way that the grass is not always greener on the other side of the fence.

Trail

Trail

Switched to the left side of the fence.

Trail

Trail

Not for long. Switched back to the right side of the fence.

Looking back

Looking back

Ryan scrambling up the ridge with a sun bleached souvenir on his back.

Fence bed

Fence bed

Mountain accommodations for two.

Trail

Trail

Rob and Tom contouring around the fence line with Makaha Valley in the background.

Helipad

Helipad

Look! Up in the sky! It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s a helicopter.

Looking back

Looking back

Click here for the panoramic view.

Trail

Trail

Hiking on the eroded section of the ridge.

Looking back

Looking back

Ryan, Dale and Gen making their way up.

Trail

Trail

We could see the forest for the trees. Koa trees.

Trail

Trail

Entering the introduced and native forest. Photo by Dale Yoshizu.

Ohikilolo

Ohikilolo

The triangular peak of Ohikilolo which roughly means scooped out brains.

Ohikilolo cabin

Ohikilolo cabin

We had the cabin all to ourselves. Pays to have reservations.

Cabin life

Cabin life

I can see why a lot of people have taken a shine to this cabin. Wrap around lanai with mountain views. Bunks that can sleep up to 12 people. Rain catchment system provides drinking water and showers. Unfortunately, Dale could only enjoy the cabin with us for a few short hours before hiking back down. Photos by Dale Yoshizu.

Biodegradable

Biodegradable

Deep thoughts. Outhouse with a view.

Mountain life

Mountain life

Group photo left to right: Tom, Rob, Jose, Gen, myself and Ryan.

Where there's smoke there's fire

Where there’s smoke there’s fire

When you do bad things in the mountains, you get held hostage at finger point. Rob was later released on his own recognizance. Photo by Genesaret Balladares.

Sunset

Sunset

No green flash spotted.

Cooking by head lamps

Cooking by head lamps

Chris pushed up the ridge and arrived under cover of darkness to deliver our frozen steaks. Chefs Engle and Balladares prepping our food. Heavy on the oil and garlic please.

What's for dinner?

What’s for dinner?

The pit boss, Gen, presided over the grill to cook our steak, baby potatoes, corn on the cob, and garlic bread. We ate pretty well that night.

Night sky

Night sky

The skies were clear. The winds were noticeably absent. Stunning mountain views. Grilled food. Great company. Glamping. Not quite. But pretty close.

Cheers

Cheers

Cinammon fireball whisky to keep our tummies warm.

Lights out

Lights out

No rodents paid us a visit as we bunked down for the night. Photo by Ryan Leano

Moon rise

Moon rise

Somebody got up in the middle of the night to catch the moon rising over Mount Ka’ala. Photo by Tom Engle

Good morning

Good morning

Chilly Sunday morning. Ryan dragged the grill back into the cabin and applied liberal amounts of lighter fluid to kick start the heater.

Makua valley

Makua valley

Looking into the back of the valley.

Panoramic view

Panoramic view

Click here for the larger image.

Trail

Trail

We cleaned up after ourselves and checked out of the cabin to resume our second day of hiking.

Trail

Trail

Approaching the summit of Ohikilolo.

Pu'u Ohikilolo

Pu’u Ohikilolo

Group photo at the 3,052′ sun-in-your-face summit.

Pu'u Ohikilolo

Pu’u Ohikilolo

The crew scrambling down the crumbly backside.

Trail

Trail

A rocky rollercoaster ridge hike was ahead of us.

Looking back

Looking back

Leaving the summit of Ohikilolo behind us.

Ohikilolo cabin

Ohikilolo cabin

Looking back at the cabin. It was a sweet cabin. Photo by Tom Engle.

Trail

Trail

Hikers imitating goats on the ridge. Just don’t get your head stuck.

Looking back

Looking back

Chris and Tom on the skinny ridge with the slowly receding view of Ohikilolo behind them.

Trail

Trail

All fences lead to Mount Ka’ala. Well, at least this one does.

Looking back

Looking back

Chris coming down mini-Ohikilolo.

Makaha Valley

Makaha Valley

Back in 1855, this valley was sold for the princely sum of $5,000. In todays dollars that would roughly come out to $140,000. Trinkets and beads?

Trail

Trail

The fenced ridge line serpentined towards three corners.

Mountain yoga

Mountain yoga

Gen kicking it in the mountains.

Trail

Trail

Jose making his way down to a narrow section of the ridge.

Trail

Trail

Rob making his way down the steep rocky ridge.

Trail

Trail

Jose kicking it in the mountains.

Trail

Trail

Gen making her way down a steep climb. I guess the fence does come in handy. Photo by Ryan Leano.

Trail

Trail

The rest of the crew making their way down.

Trail

Trail

Ryan climbing up a short and steep rock.

Trail

Trail

Fence for miles. Or at least as far as the eye can see.

Trail

Trail

Ryan and Tom climbing their way down to the small rock obstacle.

Trail

Trail

Gen and Rob climbing up the last steep rock climb. Pretty vertical fence climb.

Trail

Trail

Chris and Jose enjoying the views from the ridge line.

Ohikilolo puka

Ohikilolo puka

Another hole in the Waianae mountains.

Trail

Trail

I don’t know about the rest of the crew, but my left arm was getting tired from hanging onto the fence as we made our way along the ridge.

Trail

Trail

In the thick of things. Things being shrubs and trees.

Trail

Trail

The final push to the summit. Almost there. Really.

Ohikilolo ridge

Ohikilolo ridge

Looking back at the convoluted fence lined ridge that we had just traversed.

Three Corners

Three Corners

Afternoon siesta. Forget the group photo.

Panoramic view

Panoramic view

Click here for the larger image.

Trail

Trail

Back in the jungle. The uluhell jungle.

Off trail

Off trail

Is this the way? So many ribbons. So many choices.

Trail meets road

Trail meets road

Chris and Ryan sliding down the uluhe covered cliff.

Mount Ka'ala Road

Mount Ka’ala Road

Roughly two miles. Uphill. Head down.

Uber

Uber

Where’s the driver?

Looking back

Looking back

Even those of us with less than 20/5 vision could make out Ohikilolo cabin in the distance.

Double tuck

Double tuck

Somebody was smiling. Must like their pants pulled up high.

Mount Ka'ala Road

Mount Ka’ala Road

Tom walking up to the cell communications towers.

Weeping wall

Weeping wall

Multiple choice: Are Ryan, Jose and Tom a) heeding the call of nature in a communal setting b) filling their bottles with the spring water flowing down from the top or c) being forced to face the wall for walking on Mount Ka’ala Road.

Mount Ka'ala Road

Mount Ka’ala Road

Arriving at the socked in summit. We met a bunch of hikers and asked for directions to Diamond Head. They weren’t buying it.

Ka'ala Nature Area Reserve

Ka’ala Nature Area Reserve

No views. Everybody was in a rush to get down to the valley floor. No breaks. Just straight down. Other hikers yielded to our stampede.

Trail meets road

Trail meets road

One mile of paved goodness left to finish off the hike. Let it end.

All pau

All pau

Group photo with the legendary rainbow man himself, Laredo. Photo by Krista Robertson.

GPS Tracks

GPS Tracks

Our two day cabin hike covered 10.91 miles over rocky roller coasting ridges and stellar scenery with good friends. It was so much fun. Thanks to Chris’s friend, Emerito, for picking us up in Waianae Valley. Post hike meal at Outback. Hiking staple.

Leave a Comment

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

John M Peru February 27, 2016 at 1:43 pm

SO AWESOME Thanks!! You are showing me at 73 How nice Waialua Is!!
I love Waialua when the Plantation was there.
I lived on Haona Street Waialua High 1963
Culinary Degree Kapiolani 1965
Chef of the Year 1997 Chef’s de Cuisine
Chef at Mid-Pacific Country Club
Retired

Reply

kenji SAITO February 28, 2016 at 7:12 pm

Aloha John,
Thanks. Glad you had some great memories and are now enjoying your retired life.
Mahalo

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